Special interests hurt average person

Eric C. Paulsen, Editor in Chief
Eric C. Paulsen, Editor in Chief

Why are politics so confusing to the average person? Do current and prospective government officials purposely try to confuse voters into decisions they would not normally make?

Sometimes, one would think so, especially in this year’s election. It has been classified as one of the ugliest campaigns in the history of California because of the ruthless mudslinging that the two political parties have done throughout the campaign. The senatorial and gubernatorial races have made it difficult for me to decide who to vote for. I wonder if the changes they promise to bring are true or just false promises said to influence voters and win the election.

The decisions over which public officials to vote for might actually be one of the easier ones, considering there are eight different propositions on the ballot for one to decide upon.

I will be the first to admit it. I am not the most versed individual when it comes to politics on a national or local level and I rely on what others have to say about the different propositions. The information gathered this way is generally biased because I am unable to get objective information stating both sides of the argument.

I made a personal decision this year that I would no longer base my decision on hearsay after hearing about Proposition 188 on the radio and the organization lobbying for it.

Prop. 188 imposes a statewide regulation of tobacco use and would limit the availability of tobacco products to minors.

It sounded good to me, until I discovered Philip Morris was in full support of it. It just did not seem right. Why would a giant in the tobacco industry support such ligation which could effect its profits in the long run?

So the search began, to find out the truth behind this proposition. If Prop. 188 is passed, it would take the power out of the hands of local city governments concerning smoking ordinances and would give the power to the state government, which could then allow smoking back into restaurants, bars, and offices.

In California Journal, a legislative analyst predicts that if Prop. 188 passes, it will more than likely increase state and local health care costs and also increase state tobacco tax revenues. The journal continues by saying the supporters of Prop. 188 have distorted it by making it look like an anti-smoking law, which it is not. Because of Philip Morris’ influence through funding and advertising, the proposition, they have been able to convey a positive but misleading message to the public.

Discovering the truth about the proposition upset me. I felt I had been lied to concerning the real impact Prop. 188 would have. It made me feel like the government, both federal and state, is not really looking out for the public’s best interest. Instead they are being influenced too easily by these special interest groups that provide funding for these questionable propositions during election years.

It makes one wonder if the promises these candidates make to masses of registered voters are different than the promises they make to the special interest groups, who have more power if the promises made to them are not kept.

Who are the candidates going to try and please—the individual voter or the powerful special interest groups? I think we know the answer to that question. It has happened for years and will continue until the current trends end and the government begins to actually care about the people it makes decisions for.

When will the average man or woman count in this society to the government?

Eric C. Paulsen, Editor in Chief
Eric C. Paulsen
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